Maharashtra Govt To Suspend Licence Of Onion Traders On Strike

The Maharashtra government today, September 21, ordered the suspension of the licences of the traders who are on an indefinite strike as a response to their agitation.

Maharashtra Govt To Suspend Licence Of Onion Traders On Strike

The Nashik District Onion Traders' Association issued a warning stating that until the government addresses the export duty and their other requests, the market committees will remain closed and the traders won't participate in the auction process.

Additionally, traders announced going on an indefinite strike over export taxes. For the last month, the traders have been on strike. The Maharashtra government today, September 21, ordered the suspension of the licences of the traders who are on an indefinite strike as a response to their agitation. The action has sparked concerns about a probable shortage of onions in markets and a rise in costs.

All agricultural produce market committees (APMCs) in the district have had their onion auctions stopped by the Nashik District Onion Traders Association (NDOTA). In addition to other concessions, they want the export duty cancelled and market fees cut by 50%. The government has threatened legal action against non-compliant APMCs.

The District Sub-registrar for Co-operative Societies issued an order on September 20 night instructing all APMCs to suspend or cancel the licences of the striking merchants and submit the Action Taken Report by September 21 after taking serious notice of the situation.

The office-bearer stated that in the protest, they decided to shut down the auction of onions in all the APMCs in the district for an indefinite period of time. The export duty hike decision of the union government will not only make the onion export a difficult task but will also affect onions in transit, causing huge losses to the farmers.

On September 20, Maharashtra's Marketing Minister, Abdul Sattar, remarked that it was improper to observe a bandh (strike), which prevents onion auctions from taking place. During an event, he stated that the secretaries of the departments of cooperation and marketing would discuss the appropriate course of action, and the Nashik district collector would carry it out.

Notably, most of the APMCs in the Nashik area, including Lasalgaon, the biggest wholesale onion market in India, kept their onion auctions closed on August 20.

The office-bearer stated that they had given the administration until September 19 to find a response to their demands. However, given that their demands have not yet been met, they have made the decision to halt the onion auction indefinitely.

Other demands made by traders include the removal of the export tax on onions, a 50% cut in market fees, participation in auctions by the National Cooperative Consumers Federation of India (NCCF) and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), and a 50% subsidy on the transport of onions.

As a result, on September 20, onion auctions were not held in all APMCs in the Nashik district, including the Lasalgaon APMC. The APMCs received no onions.

According to the government order, Khandu Deore, head of the Nashik District Onion Traders Association, wrote to Minister Sattar on September 13 with four demands and a warning to stop taking part in onion auctions as of September 19.

In light of this, the minister has scheduled a meeting for departmental representatives from marketing for September 26.

The minister also asked the traders to postpone their protest. Despite this, the traders and brokers went on strike, which created numerous issues for farmers while trying to sell their various agri products, according to the order.

The order stated, "Even in the meeting held by the government on Wednesday, September 20, the traders and brokers remained adamant on their stand. As a result, the order of immediate legal action has been issued."

Accordingly, all APMCs must make optional arrangements and take the required steps to maintain the sale and purchase of agricultural produce in accordance with the Maharashtra Agriculture Produce Marketing (Development and Regulation) Act, 1963.

The licences of such traders are subject to suspension or cancellation by APMCs. The APMCs must immediately suspend or revoke the licences of such dealers in accordance with the provision. The directive further stated that a necessary procedure should be put in place to give licences to new purchasers who want to acquire commodities at the APMCs.

The ruling further said that the board of directors and secretary of an APMC would be subject to disciplinary action should they fail to comply with it.

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